5 Signs You are Self-Medicating with Drugs and Alcohol

In the United States, millions of people are considered to be illicit drug users and alcohol consumers. There are many reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol, such as social pressures, curiosity, and a desire to feel a certain way.

People may also use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, which occurs when they attempt to escape trauma, ease physical or emotional pain, relieve stress, or reduce the symptoms of a mental illness.

If you are concerned that you are self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, there are important signs to be aware of. By identifying this behavior, you can seek dual diagnosis treatment (which we offer here in Agoura Hills, California) and heal from substance abuse and underlying trauma or mental illness. Below are five important signs to pay attention to.

1. You drink or use drugs to manage uncomfortable emotions.

If you regularly “drown your troubles” in drugs or alcohol, this is a sign of self-medication. You are using drugs and alcohol in an unhealthy way and relying on them to escape your feelings. As the effects of drugs and alcohol take over, you’ll have two problems to deal with: dependency and the underlying source of pain.

2. Your mood or mental health symptoms get worse when you’re under the influence.

Abusing drugs and alcohol takes a toll on your mental and physical health. Do you find that you’re having trouble sleeping? Are your moods stronger? Do you have a difficult time managing your emotions? While illicit substances may seem to ease mental health symptoms at first, they end up making them worse.

3. Friends and family are worried about your health.

If friends, family, or doctors are concerned about your drug and alcohol usage, it’s a sure sign that you’ve crossed the line into self-medication. The people around you have an objective viewpoint and can see things you may not. Getting help now is important – you don’t have to wait until rock bottom to seek drug rehab.

4. Your drug and alcohol use is crossing over into other aspects of life.

Have you noticed that you’re having trouble in your relationships? Your finances? People who self-medicate tend to have social, financial, and health problems. The ongoing use of drugs and alcohol creates additional problems and takes away the ability to connect with yourself and others.

5. You get worried when you can’t drink or get high.

Do you get anxious if you can’t get drunk or high? This is a sign that you’re self-medicating and don’t want to deal with your true emotions. Rather than facing reality, you push these fears away and self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

If you believe that you are self-medicating, help is available. Dual diagnosis rehab in California addresses substance abuse and underlying trauma or mental health disorder.

Contact Awakenings Treatment Center to learn more about our intensive outpatient treatment program.